HRH Summer 2010 : Page 53

BY PJ PEREZ PHOTOS BY ERIK KABIK/RETNA Some supergroups make perfect sense—its members fi tting like a glove, such as Velvet Revolver or Cream. Others look like a bad idea on paper, as when the instrumental members of politically charged rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine paired up with wailing ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, but end up proving their sound is more than just the sum of its parts. Them Crooked Vultures doesn’t fi t neatly into either category. While in theory, the combination of bassist John Paul Jones, drummer Dave Grohl and signer/guitarist Josh Homme does makes sense—both Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age fame) and Grohl (does the former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman really need an introduction?) owe a giant musical debt to Jones’ most famous band (you might have heard of it? Led Zeppelin)— no one can accuse Them Crooked Vultures of sounding like the sonic merger of its members’ respective extracurricular musical activities. Although the band has sarcastically described itself as sounding “like the guy from Queens of the Stone Age singing and playing guitar with the bass player from Led Zeppelin and the drummer from Nirvana,” this power trio (augmented live by multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes) doesn’t quite fi t the mold of 1960s/1970s heavy metal, 1990s grunge or 2000s psychedelic fuzz, nor does it find some clever way to blend the three. “It has its own identity, its own personality,” Homme said in an autobiographical video posted on the band’s YouTube channel. “It looks unlike each of our other bands.” Moreover, Them Crooked Vultures is a supergroup in only the barest sense. There has been no giant marketing campaign beyond some faceless viral videos posted on the internet, the band is doing very little press, and gigs have been chosen based on the whims of its members. Despite reasonable rock radio spins for songs such as “New Fang,” you won’t see a massive hit single coming from the band’s self-titled debut album, no “High Enough,” no “Like a Stone,” no “Sunshine of Your Love.” Them Crooked Vultures isn’t writing music to sell records. It’s turned itself inward, creating challenging, complex, otherworldly rock songs that don’t easily sit well on the ear. HRH MA GA ZINE 53

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